Monday, September 04, 2006

My Keystone Kops Story

I wrote half this story this afternoon and promptly lost it because blogger died. So, I'll try again.

The background: I do laundry on Mondays and because we had no plans for today, I started the laundry as usual. But the first load was not drying very well.
We live in a two story solid log home. My laundry is in a small closet outside the master bedroom on the second floor. Because the ceiling of the first floor is the floor of the second floor, there are no spaces in between for plumbing, etc. The plumbing on the second floor runs to one inside wall that does have space and goes up or down (we have an air conditioning unit and furnace in the attic for the second floor and one in the basement for the main floor).

So, the last time the dryer didn't dry well I called the Maytag people and they recommended we clean out the dryer vents before they send someone out - thereby saving me some money. It is a good idea to clean your dryer vents regularly -- the pipes all the way to the outside of the house get clogged with lint and this is a fire hazard. It is also the reason the dryer doesn't dry well! The last time was about a year or year and a half ago and at this time, Bill pulled the dryer out as far as he could (it is propane gas); then layed across the dryer to reach the duct in the back of it to pull it apart. We vacuumed the inside dryer vent and the back ducts, but that wasn't enough. Following the duct up into the attic, we went up and cleaned out the duct from the top -- this part is straight up from the dryer -- but it is at least 10 feet straight up and down. Then we looked at the duct part that goes outside -- it goes all the way across the bedroom (about 35 feet) to vent outside above the roof of the clutter room, which is just one story. It too, was full of lint. This is the Keystone Kops part: (Oh, and my husband is a retired mechanical engineer -- he was the Manager of Engineering for a subsidiary of Borg Warner). He decided he would go outside to the vent, use his leaf blower and blow the lint into the shop vac that I would be using in the attic at the other end of the line. He set me up with the vac hose with a shop rag wrapped around it to plug the much larger vent, went outside, climbed the ladder to the roof and proceeded to blow the lint from the outside vent to the vac, which I turned on. Oh -- and my husband is deaf --he actually has two hearing aids which he can't wear when he's working with loud machinery -- and he's at least 35 feet away from me -- and there's a solid log wall next to him. Can you see where this is going?
The shop vac immediately plugged with lint, the shop rag was blown off the end of the duct and the rest of the lint was being blown out into the attic all over the insulation and, of course, all over me -- as I'm screaming at the top of my lungs to shut the da_n thing off and pounding on the wood support beams hoping he can at least hear that! ROFLOL! He finally shut it off (not because he heard me either), came back up to the attic and I was in tears because I was laughing so hard! To top off that day, he dropped the shop vac carrying it downstairs and emptied it in the foyer of the house! I just laughed and cleaned up the mess. We spent an hour trying to get the vent hooked back up to the back of the dryer and the dryer moved back into the tiny closet.

Fast forward to today. Bill is now 80 and his hearing has not improved any. I told him we needed to clean the vent, but that I wasn't going to be on the receiving end of the lint -- that maybe taping a bag over the end would be a better idea! He also managed to vacuum at the top without removing the duct from the dryer and had me turn the dryer on to blow the lint into the duct -- which worked quite well. And, the duct to outside was not too bad, so the bag on the end worked well. Of course, 5 minutes after he got off the roof it started pouring down rain. But the job is done and the dryer is working well once again! And I will never forget the first time we cleaned it out! LOL


Patti said...

What a great story - thanks Joanne!

Ann said...

Loved this story! Sounds like a predicament my dh and I would get ourselves into! Thanks for the laugh, but also I'm glad for you that things worked out so much better today!

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

I had a good laugh about this story! Just goes to show that experience is a good teacher... you guys have found a better way to handle this chore. But oh my goodness - the first time must have been quiet the sight!



quiltpixie said...

I can just imagine the mess you had the first time! Thankfully you learned from the experience and today went better :-)

Lynn Dykstra said...

I have a dryer you can work on next!

Libby said...

I can just picture it -- a very funny story. Now we should clean our vent, I don't believe it's ever been done.

Judy said...

I tried to comment the other day but blogger wasn't having any of it! Our vents are on the top of the second floor and we used to clean them ourselves. Then the association decided we were not allowed on the roof anymore so made us PAY someone they hired to clean them. They hooked up the leaf blower on the inside and blew it all the way to the outside and caught it in a mesh bag. Worked okay and only cost me $30!

I loved thinking about the two of you doing that!